Application

 Oxford

 Jesus

 Modern Languages

 2000

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

Applying for Modern Languages in French and Italian

 yes (10 A*)

A-levels

(NA at AS; predicted A; gained B at A2)

(NA at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

(NA at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

(NA at AS; predicted A; gained A at A2)

Not clear whether English Literature, English Language or English Lit and Lang.

Details about the offer

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

To get the best possible education.

I had visited Oxford a lot and really loved it. I had also seen Cambridge but it seemed to be more serious and less fun – take the uni out of Oxford and there’s still a city, unlike Tabland.

Because it was quite small, central, cheap accommodation/food, good at a variety of things, pretty.

Preparation

yes

Hardly – there were a few meetings where the Oxbridge applicants would sit around and discuss important issues to make sure our brains worked, but I found them a bit useless as I could never keep up with the far-too-intelligent Poles.

On Oxford Application Form: Be honest and genuine. Don’t be modest, but don’t make yourself sound arrogant. The tutors have to teach you for 3/4 years, they’ll want to teach someone they can get on with.

On preparing for interview: try to read as much as you can, in the language if possible, but if not then translations. Revise your grammar before interviews.

Interview

no

yes

2 pieces of marked written work for each subject because they asked for it!

yes

Grammar test for each language

French/general: I was given a passage from ENGLISH literature to read through first, then I went in and we discussed it. Then we talked about my course and what books I’d read before chatting in French for the final 5 minutes.
Italian was similar except that I had an Italian poem to talk about.

What books have you read? Why do you think xyz about this passage? What was your A-level course? Questions about my gap year (spent in Versailles). Why study this course?

I wore smart casual, eventually opting for no tie. Imagine my dismay when I walked into the Italian interview to see my tutor in a tailor-made Gucci suit… but he didn’t seem to mind! Relax: they’re used to students wandering into tutorials wearing whatever, so being not too formal may help them feel tutorials with you would be a good idea and therefore accept you.

Impressions

I loved Jesus – really friendly, relaxed and pretty. I also had an interview at St Hugh’s: it was nice and had gorgeous grounds, but it seemed isolated (20 min walk from centre) and the atmosphere reflected that (fairly introverted).

Rooms are generally excellent and the accomodation is very cheap. There are a few exceptions to the good rooms, but they’re even cheaper… Lots of double sets.

Good

variable

friendly and welcoming

relaxed, occasionally Welsh (but not as Welsh as other colleges pretend), helpful

Final stage

I was over the moon. I was in France, so I got my brother to open it and read it out to me, and afterwards I just couldn’t believe it. I rang everyone I knew and jumped around a lot.

Looking back

Definitely. Even if I hadn’t got in, I really enjoyed the experience and met lots of lovely people so it would still have been worth it.

Relax, it’s not the be-all and end-all, treat it as an excellent experience. Enjoy yourself and try your best… Good luck!